Three of the greatest gifts I have received as an Ashtanga practitioner and Ashtanga teacher are these amazing human beings I am standing with here. I treasure each of them tremendously. It is Taylor Hunt who ultimately brought us all together and I am and will be forever grateful.
Taylor Hunt is my teacher.
Before Taylor, I had been practicing Ashtanga for years without ever understanding how powerful this practice could truly be. I loved practicing Ashtanga but it wasn’t until Taylor had me glimpse into my own potential that I was able to truly love myself within this practice.
Here’s the thing…I stayed comfortable for years with my practice, not really understanding the method, not realizing the true purpose for what I was doing and why. I practiced just enough to feel good about being physical, gaining just enough strength to do what was fun, what felt good, and I skipped over the stuff that required real WORK…but I truly had NO idea that I was doing that, nor did I know why.
And then a year and a half ago, Taylor finds his way into our town and turns everything upside down in the best way possible. Everything I had been doing was either wrong or misunderstood and I completely underestimated what this would mean for me from here on out.
Since that first visit to San Antonio, I’ve been collecting my series of personal “Taylorisms” that I value so much and I carry with me through my practice as I continue to grow. The first was “Be careful how you talk to yourself” and this changed my life. I was almost shocked because I thought I was really good at being positive because I was good at teaching this to others but he called me out so big and stopped an entire workshop to address my subtle self-deprecation that the reality check I got was as real as they come.
I apparently ruminated on this for a year without any growth in my practice and Taylorism #2 was “…..still??” as he discovered in my second mysore class ever with him that I was exactly where he left me a year before. So here is where the work truly began…
I took that next lesson and I applied it. I chose to dive in, to move forward and to “own it” as Taylor had told me I needed to if I was going to teach it. He’s right, and I do not teach anything I don’t work very hard at doing myself on a daily basis. With this work came a LOT of tears, a LOT of physical pain, a LOT of breaking down and breaking through beliefs I had about myself that were and are simply NOT true.
With this work I had discovered that I didn’t like myself much at all. That I excused my limitations because I believed myself to be too weak, too fat, my belly too big and in the way–because once being over 210 lbs and wearing a size 20, I still believed to be that girl and I hated her. This reality of how I felt and saw myself was stopping me from moving forward, from seeing my potential, from growing in any way. I needed to face it head on, deal with it, bring everything to light no matter how painful if I was ever going to evolve further from where I was.
The next Taylorism was given to me 4 months after my work began at a workshop in Dallas where I met even more amazing people. “You’ve GOT to get this…what are you waiting for??” I saw in Taylor a certainty he had about me that I was still not able to own myself. Weeks after, I worked and I worked and then there it was…guilt, shame, and so much ugliness that I was still holding onto, being in the dark, hiding decades of living with an eating disorder, so much self-hatred keeping me from owning true self-love, compassion, and self-acceptance.
When I broke through, it all came to light and I’m finally shedding those layers…finally replacing hate with love, holding space of compassion and gratitude for myself where self-doubt and shame once lived.
It is here that I continue my journey with an infinite amount of humble gratitude for every second, every lesson, every amazing soul I meet and, of course, for my teacher and every Taylorism he has to give. The most recent ones I was given just a couple of weeks ago were “Why are you giving up, V?” and “There’s more walking to do…”
Yes, there most certainly is, and I’m going to have to open my heart even more to do so.
Thank you, Taylor, from the bottom of my heart…for the light, for the practice as I know it today, for bringing us together, for helping us establish our community so we can continue to grow and share it with others.